Enhanced cargo loading/management, washable interior surfaces
Loading and unloading rolling or messy cargo requires special materials and unique tailgate configurations. In fact, some 44 of the 2007 models released to date have a rear cargo organizer as standard equipment.
The Dodge Nitro's "Load 'N Go" rear sliding storage tray takes it one further: It extends 18 inches beyond the rear bumper for simple cargo loading and unloading. Up to 400 pounds may be placed on the unit. A separate rear cargo tray is "reversible," creating a walled bin useful for carrying balls or other objects with the potential to slide. An asymmetrical tailgate designed into the Land Rover LR3 luxury SUV allows easy loading when both closed and open. The short half on the passenger side lets users load cargo easily when closed, and the long driver-side half provides a luggage/gear storage shelf when down.
The Honda Element compact SUV features a black urethane-coated utility floor, great for hauling muddy mountain bikes or wet snowboards. Waterproof seating upholstery (called FXC — "fabric for extreme conditions") keeps the chairs stain-free. Similarly, Toyota's FJ Cruiser crossover SUV includes a rubberized floor and water-resistant seats with sealed seams to keep everything intact when rinsed.
Cool and unique features
Some innovative vehicle organization techniques escape classification. For example, the Honda Odyssey minivan features a partially exposed Lazy Suzan (rotating storage tray) beneath the passenger floor. The Nissan Quest has a retractable dry-cleaning hook, and Range Rover SUVs have retractable cupholder covers. Storage nets in the Mercedes M-Class and Audi Q7's passenger footwells keep small cargo in place. Several brands boast a purse hook (albeit for a small purse) in the passenger footwell. And for luxury convenience, BMW X5 SUVs have a phone outlet built into the front armrest.
If you're not buying a new car just yet and want to organize your current ride, see "Is Your Car a Mess? Organize Your Car in Five Steps".